Jeffs Handed First DIII Loss of Season by Williams, 6-3

Natasha Brown '11 improved to 9-0 against DIII competition with a three-set win at No. 5.

AMHERST, MA – The top-ranked Amherst College women's tennis team suffered a 6-3 loss to second-ranked Williams College Sunday afternoon, moving the Lord Jeffs to 11-1 (4-1 NESCAC) against Division III competition this season. The Ephs improve to 11-2 overall and 2-0 in the NESCAC.

Williams won all three of the doubles matches and held a 3-1 lead when play was moved indoors to nearby Mount Holyoke College due to rain. The Jeffs would make things interesting at 3-2, but the Ephs sealed the upset by winning the top two singles matches.

Sunday marked the third consecutive meeting between Amherst and Williams in which the No. 2 team in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings upset the No. 1 team. The Ephs avenged the 6-3 loss they suffered to the Jeffs last October in Williamstown.

Home court continued to be far from an advantage in the series, as Williams is now 4-3 at Amherst in the past five years. The Lord Jeffs are a perfect 8-0 on the Ephs’ home courts since the 2004-05 season.

The No. 3 doubles match was the first to finish on Sunday, with Caroline Capute and Lucy Marchese cruising to an 8-1 win over Amherst’s Caroline Richman ’13 (Pacific Palisades, CA) and Carlissa King ’11 (Bayside, NY). Next to finish were Grace Baljon and Taylor French, who defeated Amherst’s top pair of Brittany Berckes ’10 (Secaucus, NJ) and Laura Danzig ’12 (Allendale, NY), 8-6.

In the No. 2 doubles match, Kristin Alotta and Nikki Reich held a 7-4 lead over Amherst’s Jill Wexler ’10 (Beverly, MA) and Natasha Brown ’11 (Woodland Hills, CA), but the Lord Jeff pair came back to win the next two games. The Williams duo would hold serve, though, to hang on for the 8-6 victory, giving the Ephs a comfortable 3-0 lead heading into singles play.

Before the rain started to fall, Wexler put Amherst on the right track with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Marchese in the No. 4 singles match. When play resumed at Mount Holyoke, King gave the Jeffs a second point with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over Reich at No. 3.

The match was wrapped up in the blink of an eye, however, when Baljon and Alotta finished within 10 seconds of each other at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Just one point after Baljon sealed her 7-5, 7-6(6) win over Berckes, Alotta completed her comeback over Danzig. Alotta dropped her first set, 6-4, but took the next two, 6-3 and 6-4. Berckes and Baljon are now 4-4 against one another in the all-time singles series, as they have now alternated wins in the past five meetings.

Also earning a come-from-behind win for Williams was Capute, who defeated Laken King ’11 (Bayside, NY) at No. 6. Amherst took the first set in a 9-7 tiebreaker, but Capute won the second set, 6-3, before coming out on top in the super tiebreaker, 10-6. Brown improved to 9-0 against Division III competition this year by accounting for Amherst’s third point, defeating Nancy Worley in three sets (6-3, [3-6], 6-0).

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Tuesday, Apr. 20, when they host Tufts University at 4 p.m. The Ephs will take on Middlebury Wednesday, Apr. 21, in a battle between the only teams yet to lose a NESCAC match this season.

#2 Williams College def. #1 Amherst College, 6-3
1) Grace Baljon/Taylor French (W) def. Brittany Berckes/Laura Danzig (A) 8-6
2) Kristin Alotta/Nikki Reich (W) def. Jill Wexler/Natasha Brown (A) 8-6
3) Caroline Capute/Lucy Marchese (W) def. Caroline Richman/Carlissa King (A) 8-1

1) Grace Baljon (W) def. Brittany Berckes (A) 7-5, 7-6(6)
2) Kristin Alotta (W) def. Laura Danzig (A) [4-6], 6-3, 6-4
3) Carlissa King (A) def. Nikki Reich (W) 7-6(5), 6-4
4) Jill Wexler (A) def. Lucy Marchese (W) 6-2, 6-2
5) Natasha Brown (A) def. Nancy Worley (W) 6-3, [3-6], 6-0
6) Caroline Capute (W) def. Laken King (A) [6-7(7)], 6-3, 10-6